Desmond Chiam on working with 'gentlest, loveliest' director Gregg Araki on 'Now Apocalypse and his upcoming 'cool cop show' 'Reef Break'
Actor Desmond Chiam who was last seen in Starz's show 'Now Apocalypse' and has a lead role in upcoming ABC show 'Reef Break' is all praise for celebrated New Queer Cinema director Gregg Araki, and is super excited about his next project which he termed "a cool cop show, mixed with a bit of Tomb Raider, mixed with a bit of Romancing the Stone."
In an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide, Chiam gave us a glimpse of his new show and talked about the things he learned while working with Araki.
He started by giving us the deets about his next show, 'Reef Break'. Chiam said that he will appear "as one of the male leads opposite Poppy Montgomery! It's a cool cop show, mixed with a bit of Tomb Raider, mixed with a bit of Romancing the Stone, so we're really excited for this one to hit screens on June 20th - check it out on ABC!"
Looking back on the Araki-helmed 'Now Apocalypse, Chiam said he went through an unusual audition before he bagged the role of Jethro.
He recalled, "Fascinatingly graphic is how I'd describe the sides. I figured I'd go full blown Aussie bogan for the role, and it turns out they liked the choice. They ended up bringing me back for another character that turned out to be Jethro. That was apparently pretty early in the process."
He also said that being cast "got the heart rate up."
He further added, "It's a confronting series, and Jethro has to do a number of very confronting things. I think, being that I was familiar with Gregg's earlier work (Smiley Face, in particular), I was excited to see what he was going to do with this insane script he'd written. I had a chance to be a fly on a very sexy wall and see how the man works."
Speaking of working with Araki on the show, Chiam said, "He's the gentlest, loveliest director I've ever worked with, and the fact he can retain those qualities without compromising his singular vision is to be lauded. There are plenty of bully-boys and girls in Hollywood who's process includes anger. If it gets results, I can deal - but Gregg is the opposite. He lets you play."
This also played a role when the team of Now Apocalypse did not have an intimacy coach. Chiam said that they did not have to work around the absence of one since they had Araki. He said, "He knows how to do this - he's made a career out of shooting scenes like this. One of the first things he said to me was, 'If you at any point feel uncomfortable, you come find me and - no matter how busy or stressed I look - you pull me aside and we go into a private room and we chat'."
Speaking about a takeaway from the show, which premiered in March on Starz, Chiam said, "Weird is something you just haven't figured out the context for, and that's really on you. I'll be honest - there was hesitation in taking the role. But in taking the plunge, I completely shifted my paradigm vis-a-vis how I look at sex and body positivity. You'd be surprised how open you can be if you just put yourself out there."